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Kodanja 10-10-2007 10:06 PM

Idaho West Mountains - Payette River
Had a meeting in McCall so I though I'd make a day of it and plan a loop along the Payette River and around and over the West Mountains. Great weather and nice Fall colors.

Here's the Route: Headed out of Boise and took old highway 55 down to Horseshoe Bend; around HSB on Pioneer Rd to Porter Creek; Asphalt to McCall, New Meadows and over to Council on US95; Middle Fork Road (along the Mid. Fk. of the Weiser River), around West Mountain to Tamarack Falls; West Mountain Rd along Cascade Reservoir, Cabarton Rd to Clear Creek; Skunk Creek Rd, Sixty Ln to Highway 55 and back to Boise. 270 miles of fun today.
At the summit turnoff to Old Highway 55. (You can barely see HSB at the upper right of the photo - a patch of green.) Now that the new 4-lane was constructed back in c1989, this road only services residences and is not in the best condition.
A view of the 4-lane from the turnoff.
And a better view of Horseshoe Bend. This is where I grew up before moving to Boise. For years HSB's industry was the lumber mill, but it's been gone for almost 10 years. The town is becoming a restfull place to live.
One of the broken up spots. This is why the new 4-lane was built. Old Highway 55 just couldn't stay together.
Horseshoe Bend was named after the way the Payetter River goes through it - in the shape of a horseshoe.
Here's a shot of the bike at the Payette River bridge....
....and this view of the Payette. The Payette River runs from McCall to Payette where it meets the Snake River.
Pioneer Road goes around HSB and through some farm country on the east side of the Payette.
These back country roads are full of farm houses and old barns and abandon farm equipment.
Hooking back on Highway 55 north along the Payette, the Idaho Northern railway crosses the Silver Bridge. The Thunder Mountain Line out of HSB gives train rides to Cascade on this line.
The famous "Rainbow Bridge" was just restored this summer. I'm glad the State is preserving this historic bridge built in 1938.
Logging: One of Idaho's major industries. Logging truck drivers make their pay by the load, so they travel fast. Later on, I about got clipped by one barreling down the Middle Fork road with a mountain of dust behind it.
Had my meeting here in McCall. I rushed through the meeting so I could get on my way.
Made it to Council and stopped at the local Payette National Forest Visitors Center. The two old volunteer ladies were helpful. I told them I was on a motorcyle and they said, "yes, we can tell." When your all suited up with gear you don't think about it.
Here's a map outside the visitor center. The southerly lake is Cascade Reservoir and the West Mountains are to the, well, west.... and include Cascade Mountain and Tamarack Resort (I didn't have time to go in to the Resort, yet I've been there many time.) The northerly lake is Payette Lake at McCall. From McCall, my route included north through New Meadows and just west of the green patch of the West Mountains, through the center and along West Mountain road along Cascade Reservoir.
At the turnoff of Highway 95 to Middle Fork Road. First some farm country, then into the mountains. Not really extreme, but came up behind a road grader laying out a new 12" deep gravel section for 100 yards. Up on the pegs, a little speed and fished on through. You know that DVD, "Dual Sport Riding Techniques," had a good lesson on rounding curves as you offset your weight to the outside. The more I practiced this, the more confident and faster I went around the corners...even power slided a bit.
Tamaracks: They're all over in clusters on the mountain.
Down the east side at the bottom of the mountain is Cascade Reservoir...a little low this time of year and exposing the tree stumps.
The colors along West Mountain Road were great. Lots of stops.
Looking south
After passing the lake, I took the back country Cabarton road. Crossing the Payette.
This put me back to Highway 55, and since I wasn't ready to hit the pavement yet, I crossed at Clear Creek and headed down Skunk Creek Rd. to Sixty Ln.
Smith's Ferry along the Payette is beautiful. This is where the kayakers emerge from the rapids.
The sun is getting lower and I only have 60 miles to Boise. Maybe I can get a sunset pic.
Best I could get.

What a great day.....7 hours of great riding and a forced 1/2 hour meeting. Now that's what I call work!
Really though, I'm catching up on work tonight, and tomorrow night, and the next night...... :1drink

PonyBoy 10-10-2007 10:33 PM

cool ride, great pics, i've ridden most of it myself. thanks for the post!

ryanwilliamcantrell 10-10-2007 10:43 PM

Nice pics. I love McCall in the fall.

treysmagna 10-10-2007 10:44 PM

Really nice. I want to go!

emmettken 10-11-2007 09:23 AM

Great report and pics.I love riding up that way this time of year.
The other day you asked about the Squaw Butte road on a GS.I rode up that way Tuesday.The road was good until I came to this,around 5 miles above Black Canyon dam.

PapaYolk 10-11-2007 09:35 AM

great pics

wachs 10-11-2007 09:54 AM

real nice photos - great color and light this time of year. We floated the Snake last weekend through Hell's Canyon and saw lots of those colors on the drive to Halfway, OR.

GB 10-11-2007 11:58 AM

God's country sure is beautiful up there!! Thanks for the pics and report :thumb

idahojoe 10-12-2007 11:02 PM

nice loop
thanks for the photos!

mike1952 11-09-2008 09:21 PM


Originally Posted by idahojoe
thanks for the photos!

Homedale brings back memories of my early days as a geologist. I spent some time working around Homedale, Adrian, Murphy and other large metro areas. My old boss from those days spent his last days living in Emmet. I am thinking about retiring around there.

zakou 11-10-2008 05:56 AM

Great places !!
Nice Photos !!!
To bad is so far away!!!!

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